Texas AG Ken Paxton takes legal shot at Biden vaccine mandate for employers of 100 workers or more

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Friday, November 5, 2021
Texas sues Biden White House over vaccine mandate for big businesses
With the Biden administration setting a Jan. 4, 2022, deadline to have most U.S. workers vaccinated, Texas AG Ken Paxton is suing.

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- The legal sparring between Texas and the Biden White House entered a new round on Friday, with Attorney General Ken Paxton filing suit over the administration's COVID vaccine requirement for a vast majority of U.S. businesses.

In announcing the lawsuit, filed in conjunction with several allied states and companies, Paxton called Pres. Joe Biden's mandate to private employers with 100 or more employees "illegal and unconstitutional."

"The Biden Administration's new vaccine mandate on private businesses is a breathtaking abuse of federal power," said Paxton. "OSHA has only limited power and specific responsibilities. This latest move goes way outside those bounds. This 'standard' is flatly unconstitutional. Bottom line: Biden's new mandate is bad policy and bad law, and I'm asking the Court to strike it down."

Paxton's Petition for Review is filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The announcement comes just a day after the Biden administration laid out the requirements: one that demands large businesses require their employees to either get the vaccine or test for COVID-19 regularly, and another that mandates vaccines for most health care workers.

These federal rules identify COVID-19 as an occupational hazard. Businesses that don't comply could be fined $14,000 per infraction, and hospitals could lose access to Medicare and Medicaid dollars. A Jan. 4, 2022 deadline was set, impacting some 80 million Americans.

SEE MORE: New vaccine mandates: Most US employees must get shot or test weekly for COVID by Jan. 4

Texas suing the current White House should sound familiar. Last month, Paxton sued over a vaccine mandate for federal contractors. Gov. Greg Abbott had also signed an executive order banning vaccine mandates for customers and private business employees.

In kind, the U.S. Department of Justice has sued Texas in recent weeks, including a suit filed Thursday over the state's new voting law, which the Biden administration called restrictive to voters with disabilities and communities of color.

A U.S. Supreme Court battle also looms over Texas' abortion ban.

ABC News contributed to this report.